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#404795 - 07/25/12 08:30 PM How do you deal with this thought
theIrregular Offline


Registered: 07/23/12
Posts: 52
Loc: Canada
Hi everyone,

I was abused when I was 10 for about 3-4 months by a teacher at my Christian school. About a couple of months after the abuse ended, a sexual incident occurred with a male classmate in which I consider myself the instigator.

Like almost everyone here, I have had questions about my worth all my life (at least ever since the abuse, as far back as I can remember). I have been depressed for a long time now. I am trying to recover but I keep getting the following thoughts:

1. My abuse lasted only a few months as opposed to years, as some of you had the misfortune to go through.
2. My abuser wasn't someone close to me (again, a family member or relative for some of you)
3. Because I was responsible in the incident with the classmate, may be I actually liked what my teacher did to me.

The above three thoughts also result in a fourth one: I shouldn't be depressed because I am being sensitive as always (I have always been told that I'm emotionally and physically sensitive - I'm not hypersensitive, by the way).

I have a cousin who has been physically handicapped since birth. On more than one occasion, my dad has said to me: "What have you got to be depressed about? If anyone should be depressed, its your cousin and he's doing just fine!". My dad doesn't know about the abuse, he just knows I'm depressed. There are times I feel guilty because of this, which of course doesn't help at all.

My question is two part:
1. Are my thoughts just minimizing(which I've read is common among survivors)?
2. How does everyone else battle such thoughts?
_________________________
theIrregular

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#404808 - 07/25/12 09:53 PM Re: How do you deal with this thought [Re: theIrregular]
Vadrian Offline


Registered: 09/10/11
Posts: 111
Loc: Pacific
There is no need to compare yourself to anyone else, here or otherwise. Something doesn't have to happen every day or for years at a time to be traumatic and cause extreme harm. What happened to you and your feelings are very important and need to be taken seriously. Personally, I don't see anything wrong with being sensitive--it's a good trait to have. The shaming phrase that your father has given you is emotional abuse. A lot of us have been told that our feelings are not important. But your situation has nothing to do with your cousin.

Regarding instigating something with your classmate, it doesn't mean that you liked what your teacher did to you. It means that it was so traumatizing that you were compelled by dysfunction to repeat the abuse with someone else. You still deserve to heal either way.


Edited by Vadrian (07/25/12 09:54 PM)

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#404809 - 07/25/12 09:53 PM Re: How do you deal with this thought [Re: theIrregular]
MarkK Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 04/02/07
Posts: 2502
Loc: Denver, CO
hey friend - and welcome.

1. If your abuse happened - then it doesn't matter if it was days, months, years - it happened to you. That you don't want to minimize - and here I speak from experience. It's too easy to say "it wasn't that bad".

2. Your abuser was someone in a trusted position (I'm assuming you trusted your teacher - but if a Christian school and you were raised in the church... I would think trusted)

3. The fact that you may have acted it out does not mean you secretly liked it. In my mind it means you were trying to make sense of it - make it "normal" even at your young age.

Finally - you have every right to be depressed. I understand the guilt though - but I share in depression. I would say a vast majority here (if not all) have either been or are currently dealing with it.

As for battling the thoughts - I've found the more I fight them, the louder they get. But that does NOT mean I accept them as truth or whatever. I accept that yep, I'm thinking those thoughts again - and I look for something that might give me other things to dwell on. For me - music is a BIGGIE in this area.

You're not alone. You have the right to your feelings. They are not wrong and you don't need to feel guilty about them.

And you are accepted here.
_________________________
the story
    https://1in6.org/men/bristlecone/mark-krueger/

Kirkridge - October 2008
Alta - September 2012
Alta - September 2013

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#404811 - 07/25/12 09:58 PM Re: How do you deal with this thought [Re: theIrregular]
traveler Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 3420
Loc: somewhere in Africa
in another recent post:

"there is no hierarchy of abuse."

believe it.

Lee
_________________________
As my life goes on I believe somehow something's changed
Something deep inside...
I've been searchin so long to find an answer
Now I know my life has meaning
Now I see myself as I am, feeling very free...
When my tears have come to an end I will understand
What I left behind: a part of me. Chicago


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#404815 - 07/25/12 10:02 PM Re: How do you deal with this thought [Re: theIrregular]
scottyg Offline


Registered: 06/26/12
Posts: 253
Loc: Seattle
Quote:
There is no hierarchy of abuse. The plain truth is that we cannot understand how and why some people respond to trauma in the ways they do. Some people experience severe, prolonged trauma and seem to adapt and adjust with relatively minimal dysfunction. Some people can have their entire lives shattered by one isolated abusive experience. What matters in the long run is not how severe the abuse may or may not have been for a person, what matters is the impact abuse has on that person.
-Chris Anderson, Executive Director MaleSurvivor

Irregular-

You pose valid questions. These concerns cut to the heart of our shared experience. First of all, let me reiterate what Chris Anderson said Tuesday. There is no competion on MS for who had it worse. I was abducted for a day. No one tells me I don't belong. Every survivor who needs this space is accomodated and made to feel welcome. If anything our clubhouse is like a golf game: highest score looses. So stop comparing yourself to other people. It serves no purpose.

**triggers**
Your thoughts on your abuse are clouded because it seems your story has largely been narrated by someone else. I know the feeling. My abuse experience was co-opted by my own mother who told my story so she could gain a sympathetic ear for herself. But at the same time she shamed me into silence and forbade me from telling on my own. No mom, I was not sexually molested. A stranger chased me down and abducted me. I feared for my life as he stuck his dick in my mouth a mile from our house while you weren't around. I encourage you to find your voice by writing out your whole story in your own words. Take special care to discuss how you feel about the abuse and how it's effected your life. Once you start thinking of these events on your own terms (without the influence of parental comparisons) you will realize you are justified in your feelings. Even if you weren't. So what? Depression is depression, right? Just because you tell me I don't deserve to be depressed doesn't mean I'm like, "You know, you're right. I feel so much better!" In fact, you just made me feel worse. Thanks asshole.

Now a word about acting out. The dirty little secret among CSA survivors is we become very distorted and often we can unwittingly abuse others. Very few sexual abuse survivors actually graduate to sexual predators. That is a myth perpatrated by bad research and criminals seeking sympathy. We are forced to deal with adult emotions and experiences that as children, we have no tools to cope with. So with boundaries blurred and sexual behaviors normalized, we often act out as a learned behavior. I did. I am not proud of what I have done and I will likely never tell. However, I also forgive myself. I was not a predator operating with malice aforethought to abuse and intimidate. I was a very, very confused young man who needed help. So while these acting out behaviors are regrettable, the shame and the guilt will get you nowhere on this road to healing. Realize that you were acting out as a boy under a cloud of confusion.

Now to answer your two part question. Minimizing is what we do to try and maintain the veneer of normalcy. It's not that bad. I'm not that depressed. I'm only a little alienated. Once again, distored thinking. Balanced people (I've seen them in stores and on TV) don't wake up feeling bad about themselves and depressed. I woke up feeling like shit for 30 years. Didn't think it was possible to change after that kind of run. But it happened. I like me and I am happy (don't tell anyone they'll kick my ass out).

For me, these thoughts are not battled Irregular. Through therapy my years of distorted thinking is now realigned to a more balanced approach. I did Cognative Behavioral Therapy (CBT) which asks the simple question, what if your wrong? The therapy teaches you to actively look for evidence to support your thoughts, not simply take them face value becuase they're familiar. Through this analysis you find new ways of looking at the world and the negative thoughts are not battled as in an epic clash but simply ignored because they lack validity. I over-think everything so that's what clicked for me.

-Scott
_________________________
I've got a bike you can ride it if you like.
Its got a basket, a bell that rings
And many other things to make it look good.
I'd give it to you if I could -but I've borrowed it.

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#405070 - 07/28/12 01:26 AM Re: How do you deal with this thought [Re: Vadrian]
theIrregular Offline


Registered: 07/23/12
Posts: 52
Loc: Canada
Thanks, Vadrian.

I've started my Recovery just recently and I am learning to stand up for myself. I think I have sort of always regarded 'being sensitive' as an undesirable trait for myself. This, I think, is partly the result of the abuse. I feel emasculated because I had sex with a man and I was submissive(which the culture defines as a feminine trait) during the acts. And anything feminine(sensitiveness) in me reminds me of the abuse. Also, another incident that comes to mind when I look back on why/how I came to develop this faulty view on this trait.

It happened in Grade 9 math class. The teacher approached me and hit me across the face. This of course, was in India and teachers are allowed to physically discipline the 'difficult' students. This was a co-ed school and in a classroom, all the girls sat on one side and the boys on the other. I do not remember exactly what I did to deserve the hit, either I didn't know the answer to a question that was asked or I was caught whispering to a friend next to me while the teacher was teaching a lesson(which was absolutely forbidden).

Anyway, when I teacher hit me, I started to cry (I wasn't sobbing or anything, just silent tears). At which point, the teacher made me move me to the other side of the classroom. I spent the rest of that day sitting next to the girls. I felt so ashamed and humiliated. None of the girls spoke to me that day (not that I had the courage to speak to girls then). I just kept my head down the rest of the day and when it was finally time to go home, I found the courage to lift my head only to see one of the girls give me this look that's really hard to describe in words. It was almost as if she said, "I'm ashamed for you", or "of you". It's hard to describe, but I remember her expression well and it still hurts today.

Hopefully by making connections about my deep beliefs and their origins, I can eliminate my irrational opinions and be accepting of myself.
_________________________
theIrregular

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#405071 - 07/28/12 01:30 AM Re: How do you deal with this thought [Re: theIrregular]
theIrregular Offline


Registered: 07/23/12
Posts: 52
Loc: Canada
Thanks you all for you considerate replies.

I guess I have to keep reminding myself that no one(including myself) has the right to compare my psychological pain to someone else's and based on the comparison, tell me how I should react to the pain.
_________________________
theIrregular

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#405072 - 07/28/12 01:33 AM Re: How do you deal with this thought [Re: MarkK]
theIrregular Offline


Registered: 07/23/12
Posts: 52
Loc: Canada
Thanks, MarkK. For accepting me. It means a lot.
_________________________
theIrregular

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#405073 - 07/28/12 01:35 AM Re: How do you deal with this thought [Re: traveler]
theIrregular Offline


Registered: 07/23/12
Posts: 52
Loc: Canada
Thanks for the simple one-liner, Lee!
This one is definitely going on my 'Recovery Reminders' list.
_________________________
theIrregular

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#405074 - 07/28/12 02:07 AM Re: How do you deal with this thought [Re: scottyg]
theIrregular Offline


Registered: 07/23/12
Posts: 52
Loc: Canada
Thanks, Scott.
Your mom's neglect and manipulation reminded me of my own mother. One day I came home after the abuser had his way with me. I think I had some argument with my mother upon returning. I quickly went into the bathroom as I always did. I would turn on the tap completely so the sound of water would drown out my crying. This day I started pleading God, something along the lines of "Please God, help me. Why have you given me such life? I hate my life". I was completely oblivious to the fact that my mom was listening to everything I was saying. My mom didn't know about the abuse then. Her reaction when I got out of the bathroom was, "How dare you act like you got problems. Wait till your father gets home and hears this!". I would think anyone else in her shoes would react by first asking the 10 year old kid why he's even using such strong words as "hate" and "life" or what he's finds so troubling. Today, we're actually closer, but not to the point that I forgive her for harsh words and can trust her with the secret.

Until now, I thought I was closer in character to my abuser than a victim, because of the incident with the classmate. It's good to know that others also have, 'acted out', as a way to deal with what happened and it does not, in any way, make someone an abuser if there is no intent of predatory intimidation or pre-planned malice.
_________________________
theIrregular

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